Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular social platforms, announced on Wednesday that it has removed a "smoking" emoji to help promote the country's efforts to reduce smoking in public.
Sina Weibo users can no longer use the "smoking" emoji - which had come to mean playing it cool - on either their computer or cellphone Sina Weibo applications.
Zhang Jianshu, head of the Beijing Association on Tobacco Control, praised Sina Weibo's move, saying that "it is very inappropriate to publicize the concept that smoking is cool," news site thepaper.cn reported.
Smoking is not cool and it is not something admirable, added Zhang.
Zhang said that the association has already sent a letter to Tencent, suggesting it do the same thing on its instant messaging applications including WeChat and QQ. On WeChat and QQ, the "smoking" emoji has connotation of leisure.
According to a report published by the WHO and the U.S. National Cancer Institute in January, smoking costs the global economy more than $1 trillion a year, and will kill one third more people by 2030 than it does now.
Beijing adopted its strictest-ever regulation on smoking in public places in June 2015. So far, at least 20 Chinese cities have approved stricter tobacco control rules.
Liu Zejun, head of the general office of the Beijing patriotic health campaign committee, told Russia's Sputnik news agency that since 2015, Beijing has punished 4,000 individuals for illegal smoking and fined them around 200,000 yuan ($30,641).